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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Cultivating Happiness: A Garden of Spiritual Freedom

Aug 30, 2020 01:22PM ● By Laura Lee Bond
Sometimes happiness is hard to come by, even in the best of times. Now, more than ever, we can benefit from cultivating happiness. In many ways, it is like cultivating a garden. When we cultivate our own happiness, we empower ourselves to create a life where everyday events take on spiritual depth and become a crop of joy.
   
Eckankar, the Path of Spiritual Freedom, offers these three tools for cultivating happiness.
   
First, we are Soul, a divine, individual spark of God. When we recognize this, we can tap into a reservoir of infinite creativity. We see that we are more than our bodies, emotions and minds. Even more empowering: Soul—our true beingness—exists because God loves It. When we embrace this simple truth, we see everything in our lives through the lens of divine love. Everything in the garden of life is a gift from God.
   
Roadblocks become opportunities and confusion transforms into understanding. This doesn’t mean our lives are perfect and without trials. Rather, we find more meaning in the garden of our world and we find our way to contentment. Accepting our divine nature as Soul is fertile ground for happiness.
   
Second, in gardening, as in life, it is helpful to have someone to turn to—a Master Gardener. Difficult situations can demand more of us than we feel prepared to handle. Students of Eckankar look to Harold Klemp as their spiritual guide. He is the Spiritual Leader of Eckankar, the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. As the Mahanta, he can help people in their dreams and prayers. If we ask, the Mahanta, like a master gardener, can help guide us through challenges, showing us ways to tend our happiness.
   
Third, the daily practice of spiritual exercises is like watering, pulling weeds and allowing the sun to shine on our garden of happiness. When we make time to connect with ourselves as Soul, and with the Mahanta (or any spiritual guide we revere), we bring more love into our lives. A simple spiritual exercise is to sing HU, an ancient mantra and name for God. Pronounced hyoo, it is sung in one long note. One may see a light or hear a sound and experience a sense of calm and peace. We are cultivating happiness, so results—like plants—don’t always pop up overnight. But careful, consistent tending does bring results.
   
When we cultivate our own happiness, we empower ourselves to create emotional well-being—a life rich with understanding, meaning and love. Recognizing ourselves as Soul, divine beings that exist because God loves us, creates fertile ground for happiness. By calling on the Mahanta for guidance and using daily spiritual exercises like singing HU, we can harvest the full benefits of happiness.

Artist and Arizona native Laura Lee Bond works in the curatorial department of the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archeological Park. A longtime student of everyday spirituality, she is a member of the Eckankar clergy. She cultivates a happy home garden with husband Seth and Bella the cat. Find spiritual events and opportunities from Eckankar in Tucson at EckankarArizona.org.
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